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Google engineer indicted over allegedly stealing AI trade secrets for China

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A federal grand jury has indicted a Google engineer, Linwei Ding, aka Leon Ding, for allegedly stealing trade secrets around Google’s AI chip software and hardware on March 5th, before he was arrested Wednesday morning in Newark, California. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement that Ding “stole from Google over 500 confidential files containing AI trade secrets while covertly working for China-based companies seeking an edge in the AI technology race.”

Much of the stolen data allegedly revolves around Google’s tensor processing unit (TPU) chips. Google’s TPU chips power many of its AI workloads and, in conjunction with Nvidia GPUs, can train and run AI models like Gemini. The company has also offered access to the…

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